Guitar Lesson 2: A neoclassical approach


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In this lesson, Dan talks warm-ups, pedal tones, string skipping and Yngwie Malmstein’s ‘I’ll See the Light Tonight”.

In the first 20 minutes Dan explains why the 4 not per string ‘Spider Gym’ is good in some ways, but has some limitations and advises using three notes per string instead to develop the dexterity of the third and fourth fingers.  The next warm-up is a useful method for developing a good touch with all your playing and involves hammering-on each note in the major scale.  I was also pleased to hear that a metronome need not always be used, but instead thought of as a tool for building up speed on some techniques and to develop your internal sense of rhythm and I think that others will also find Dan’s advice on this liberating.  Next warm-up involves using a Bach ‘staccato fugue’ idea to play your major scales or your three note per string ‘spider gym’ idea from earlier.

About 20 minutes, Dan begins to explain how much freedom you can have whenever there is a static moment in a song and shows how you could choose different modal approaches whenever this occurs.  Demonstrations follow for a minor/aeolian sound, then a major/ionian, then phrygian and finally lydian.

25 minutes in Dan discusses and demonstrates some approaches to playing over a minor chord progression in Am: Am F C G.  We then focus our attention onto the technique of string skipping.  I will include here details and tabs of the exercise which Dan shows me.

At 33 minutes Dan demonstrates the pattern we have just looked at.  At 34 minutes we develop this pattern with some upper extensions.  Great for getting you to break out of position to some horizontal playing.  At 42 minutes there follows a demonstration of this soloing technique.

Straight after this demonstration, Dan begins to teach me how to play a sequence of pedal tones which can be played over a static note or chord and even sound good over a chord progression.  In the introduction to this I realise that I do not immediately understand what is meant by pedal tones and instead think that Dan means playing over a sustained chord tone.  Following this we look at an Am pedal tone structure descending first over a static E note, then over the Am F C G progression.

This leads into learning the middle section of an Yngwie Malmstein song:

Yngwie Malmstein’s “I’ll See the Light Tonight”


At 50 mins we look at several ways to sweep (and tap) using the diminished theme.  This means that the same structure can be used at three fret intervals to extend the previous position.

Finally, one hour in Dan plays a previous recording he made harmonising guitar parts over eachother to demonstrate all these ideas together.

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